Sengkang: History

11 June 2008

Sengkang East was formerly known as Kangkar. Kangkar means "foot of the port" in Teochew and Hokkien. There used to be a fishing port located along the western bank of Sungei Serangoon.

Fishing villages, rubber plantations and pepper plantations flourished in Kangkar in the past.

Jalan Kayu
Sengkang West was once part of the Jalan Kayu pig farms. Jalan Kayu is named after the cut firewood that were being stacked along the roadside.

Punggol & Jalan Kayu pig farms
Vast rural areas in Jurong, Choa Chu Kang and Lim Chu Kang become a big water catchment area after the construction of the Kranji Reservoir and Pandan Reservoir in the western part of Singapore. As such, strict water pollution control are enforce around the new reservoirs. Therefore the pig farms that are scattered across the catchment area are relocated to an alternative designated agricultural area at Punggol and Jalan Kayu.

The new Punggol and Jalan Kayu agriculture area covers a total of 1,032 hectares, and are exclusively used for intense pig farming. Squatters affected by the Punggol pig farms development were offered alternative accommodation in Punggol Estate. Whereas those affected by the Jalan Kayu pig farms development were resettled to Seletar Hills Estate and Ang Mo Kio New Town.

First phase development of the pig farms at Punggol began in late 1974, which covers an area of 254 hectares. Engineering and land subdivision work and construction of crusher run roads with proper drainage system were constructed in 1975. By 1976, farming lots were released to the Primary Production Department for allocation to affected farmers in the Kranji Reservoir Catchment Area.

The second phase of pig farms development comprises 253 hectares of land at Jalan Kayu. Development commenced in October 1975 and farming lots were released for allocation by 1977.

Two rural centres (Punggol Rural Centre and Jalan Kayu Rural Centre) were constructed to provide localized shopping facilities for the pig farms in Punggol and Jalan Kayu.

Sengkang New Town
Sengkang New Town was developed in 1995. It is the first new town to be developed after a 10 years hiatus. As such, design of the town is a great departure from previous towns. The most notable change is the revised metric dimension design system.

Revised metric dimension design system
The metric dimension design system was first introduced at Ang Mo Kio New Town in 1973. Subsequently, the metric dimension design system is being implemented for all New Towns, with the exception of Bukit Panjang New Town which uses a modified version.

Under the metric dimension design system, apartment blocks are numbered in series of hundred (3 digits), with the first digit indicating the neighbourhood. Similarly, streets in each neighbourhood are numbered with 2 digits, with the first digit reflecting the neighbourhood.

The metric dimension design system provides easy orientation. But it is also being criticizes for being boring and a loss of local identity of each neighbourhood.

Thus, a revised metric dimension design system is experimented for Sengkang New Town. The street names adopted a themed concept similar to Queenstown and Bukit Panjang.

Each neighbourhood in Sengkang is name with connection to the town history. Furthermore, all neighbourhood names incorporate the suffix –vale for uniformity. Streets in each neighbourhood are then named using variations of the neighbourhood name.

The size of each neighbourhood is also increased significantly; in fact almost double in size as compared to old neighbourhood. As such, appendix block numbering system, previously used only for neighbourhood extension or pocket in-fills, is utilized in all precincts.

Although a sense of identity might have been achieved, residents and visitors find the new naming practices confusing and difficult to orientate. After all, Singaporeans are accustomed to the nationwide old metric dimension design system for the past 20 years.

Sengkang LRT system
Sengkang is also the second town to have a LRT system. Unlike Bukit Panjang LRT that is constructed after the town is constructed, the Sengkang LRT system is conceptualized together with the overall plan of the town. This allows better positioning of the stations, tracks alignment and utilization of land around the LRT system.

New flat designs & introduction of Build-To-Order (BTO)
A new series of flat design is introduced in the first precincts of Sengkang New Town. These flat designs incorporate two additional new features, a service balcony and a civil defence shelter store.

Due to the Asian Economic Crisis in 1998, construction works for all new towns were slow down. Construction was completely suspended in 2002 following the economic slowdown after the September 11 attacks. The old Registration for Flat System (RFS) was replaced by a new Build-To-Order (BTO) Scheme. The pilot projects of Build-To-Order (BTO) were launched at Sengkang and Sembawang in April 2001.

Housing & Development Board (HDB) resumed the construction of 3-room flats in 2004. The first batch of these new 3-room flats is built at Fernvale Grove in August 2004. In 2006, HDB also resumed the construction of 2-room flats. The first batch of these new 2-room flats is built at Fernvale Vista in July 2006.


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